Category Archives: chicken

2 more Chicago restaurants with wondrously-warm-winter news

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As the temperatures continue to be chillingly above normal, we can all feel free to keep exploring our restaurant options, sans hoods, gloves and scarves. Check these announcements out:

Seasides carryoutw fried chicken

Seaside’s opens Monday, March 13 for carryout and delivery from the team behind Oyster Bah in Lincoln Park. The menu focuses on fried chicken, slow-cooked BBQ ribs, fresh Maine lobster, and sides, all fit for sharing. Harking back to childhood memories of the Jersey Shore, Oyster Bah and Shaw’s Crab House Partner, Bill “Seaside” Nevruz, brings family-style simple, delicious fare to take-home .

Seaside’s shares kitchen space at Oyster Bah. Order in person or online for pick up Mondays-Thursdays 5 -10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 4 – 11pm, and Sundays from 4 – 9pm. Or get delivery through the Door Dash app. Right now, diners who place an order through Door Dash can receive $5 off (with a minimum purchase of $15) by using promo code LETTUCEEATS.
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Ella Elli1349 W. Cornelia Ave., the eleventh concept by 4 Star Restaurant Group (Tuco and Blondie, Crosby’s Kitchen, Remington’s), opened in Lakeview just off Southport Avenue last night, Tuesday, March 6. With culinary operations led by 4 Star Executive Chef Matt Eversman and branding and design development by Chicago-based Grip (Girl & The Goat, GT Fish & Oyster), the 75-seat concept is a warm, intimate lounge space to enjoy cuisine created with global influences, a unique wine list and classic cocktails.
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Guests can enjoy dishes by 4 Star Executive Chef Matt Eversman, alongside Executive Chef Nolan Narut that range from charcuterie and toasts, vegetables and salads to pizzas and pastas, meats, fish, and desserts. Cured Meats and Pickles, Artisanal Cheeses and Steak Tartar, with toast options like the Prosciutto Butter Toast with radish and dill.

Vegetables and salads are stand-outs at Ella Elli. Crispy Grain Salad with goat cheese and shaved vegetables, Roasted Carrots with crème fraiche, harissa and pickled celery. From the wood-burning pizza oven comes Roasted Oyster Mushroom with goat cheese. Pastas include Rigatoni with roasted cauliflower, mint and chilies. Seafoods include Hamachi Crudo with persevered lemon relish and Wood-Oven Octopus with crispy potatoes and salsa verde. Meats: Burger Au Poivre with St. André triple cream and watercress, or Lamb Scottadito with spiced yogurt and harissa. Desserts include Profiteroles with mint gelato and espresso dark chocolate sauce, and Spanish Blue Cheese Beignets with cardamom powedered sugar, fresh lemon and fig-balsamic glaze.
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Nando’s gives opening day profits to Oakbrook and Skokie schools

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Bright and cheery Nando's Old Orchard
Bright and cheery Nando’s Old Orchard

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known worldwide for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, hatches two new Chicagoland restaurants this month in Skokie and Oakbrook. Nando’s will pay it forward by donating 100 percent of sales each opening day to support student programs at Niles North High School and Hinsdale Central High School. 

• SKOKIE: Nando’s ninth Chicago location will open on Sunday, November 13, in Westfield Old Orchard mall. Nando’s will donate opening-day sales to Niles North High School. The restaurant is located at 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL. Phone: 847-972-6833

• OAKBROOK: Nando’s tenth Chicago location will open on Sunday, November 20, in Oakbrook Center. Nando’s will donate opening-day sales to Hinsdale Central High School. The restaurant is located at 523 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL. Phone: 630-230-4348 

Opening-day sales in Skokie will be donated to the Niles North High School’s “Dance Marathon” charity organization, with proceeds earmarked for local families and students in need and for Hope Junior, an afterschool program that offers children and teens high-quality after-school program activities throughout Chicago. Opening-day sales in Oakbrook will be donated to the Hinsdale Central High School’s performing arts program, to help offset costs of five plays and musicals this school year.

Nando’s 11th Chicagoland location opens in mid-January 2017 in the Hyde Park neighborhood, at 1447 E. 53rd Street near the University of Chicago.

Go enjoy some Nando’s and painlessly and deliciously support your local school!

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New Knife honors and elevates the steakhouse concept

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Knife, 4343 N. Lincoln Ave., opened for business this week. Steak and seafood abound, and every creative item on the menu is presented with passion, precision and love in a warm and intimate atmosphere. Knife is brought to you by David and Paula Byers and Chef Tim Cottini, the team behind the popular Lincoln Square restaurant, Fork.

At first glance, the handsomely designed menu is understated and traditional-sounding, but the element of surprise will be ever-present in each dish. “We want to take the essence of a classic dish and re-create it in a unique way,” said Chef Cottini, who understands that, “We first eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths. The visual impact of the food will be almost as important as the taste.” Throughout the menu, Chef Cottini maintains a high standard using locally sourced, quality seasonal ingredients, as he transforms the traditional into the unexpected.

Chef Tim Cottini low res.jpg
Chef Tim Cottini

Knife is modernizing the old-school steakhouse mentality and ambiance. It will raise expectations of what a steakhouse can be while paying homage to menu classics. Promoting culinary creativity and cultural fusion is what makes this restaurant truly American.

Menu Rundown
The dinner menu is clearly organized into six sections: Appetizers, Chilled Plates, Salad & Soup, Entrées, Steaks and Sides. Appetizer choices include Fois Gras Terrine, seasonal jam, brioche, market greens and pickled vegetables ($19); Oxtail Doughnut Holes, aupoivre sauce ($10); Lobster Tail Tempura, arugula & ginger-orange sauce ($22); and Shrimp De Jonghe, puff pastry, garlic, fine herbs ($17).

Lobster 300
Lobster at Knife

Chilled Plates feature seafood, including Oysters on the Half Shell (market price); Ahi Tuna Tartare, avocado, fresno chili, endive ($14); and Shrimp Cocktail, horseradish & candied lemon ($16). The ala carte Bread Service offers two house-made choices:  Parker House Rolls with whipped butter & sea salt ($6) or Focaccia with seasonal dipping sauce ($6).

Salad & Soup choices include the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad, basil pesto, marinated red onions & basil ($16); Lobster Bisque, crème frâiche, tarragon ($11); Tableside Caesar, white anchovies, focaccia croutons, parmesan & pecorino ($19); the Market Salad, shaved market vegetables, Urban Till greens with sherry vinaigrette ($9); and the Grilled Wedge Salad, Urban Till baby iceberg, green goddess, lobster mitts, bacon, bleu cheese, tomato, scallions ($18). The Tableside Caesar can be prepared tableside for three or more persons.

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Pork chop at Knife
28 day bone in ribeye for two at Knife 300 pixels.jpg
28-day aged bone-in ribeye for two at Knife

The Entrées section of the menu includes the non-steak main courses, and there are seven from which to choose, providing plenty of variety for guests who prefer alternatives to steak. The Pork Chops are served with candied sweet potatoes and butter-bourbon gastrique ($27). Lamb Chops are accompanied by stuffed zucchini & hollandaise sauce ($27). The vegetarian Pasta entrée is built on a foundation of pappardelle, with market vegetables, basil pistou & parmesan ($18). Poultry lovers will enjoy the Green Circle Farm’s Chicken, a braised thigh with macaroni gratin, chicken jus ($24). Fish entrées include Wild Salmon, caramelized cauliflower, béarnaise ($27); Ahi Tuna, green beans amandine, smoked tomato butter ($28); and Halibut, pipperade, creamed kale, lobster demi ($30).

Knife’s Steaks section clearly emphasizes the restaurant’s keen philosophy: “Knife is proud to offer locally-sourced, house dry-aged beef. This premium product hails from local farms in Illinois and Iowa that uphold humane standards and practices as well as conservation.” There are five selections from which to choose and all steaks are served with house-made Journeyman steak sauce and choice of onion strings or hand-cut frites. Guests may order the Sirloin (10 oz, $27), Beef Tenderloin (6 oz, $33); Trio of Medallions with Bleu Cheese Crust (8 oz, $25), or the Boneless Ribeye (12 oz, $34). Knife’s signature steak is a 28-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye for Two, carved tableside and served with twice baked potatoes, green beans and au poivre ($89).

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inspired zucchini dish at Knife

Embellishments to the steaks are plentiful. Guests can choose a Lobster Tail ($19), Shrimp ($4), Foie Gras ($9), Oscar Style ($14) or Bleu Cheese ($5). Several sauces are available as well: Béarnaise ($3), Barolo ($2), Hollandaise ($2), Butterbourbon ($2), Au Poivre ($3) and Smoked Tomato Butter ($2).

Rounding out the dinner menu are nine creative side accompaniments, including Smoked Frites, lemon aioli ($6); Onion Strings, roasted pepper aioli ($6); Macaroni Gratin, parmesan, Jarlsberg & lemon ($7); River Valley Ranch Mushroom en Pappiotte, portabella, cremini, shiitake, rosemary & roasted garlic ($9); Stuffed Zucchini, basil roasted peppers & parmesan ($7); Caramelized Cauliflower, sultanas, balsamic & capers ($8); Green Beans, almond tuile & butter ($8); Twice Baked Potato, bacon, fontina, scallions, crème frâiche ($8); and Whipped Potatoes, confit garlic with cream & butter ($7).

Dessert selections continue to showcase Chef Cottini’s modern interpretations of steakhouse classics. Choices include Flaming Gran Torino, bruléed spumoni, sponge cake with vanilla, pistachio & brandied black cherry ice creams ($13); Profiteroles-gluten free-with chocolate & Tahitian vanilla ice creams with house made fudge sauce ($9); Key Lime Version 3.14, raspberries, ginger graham crust, whipped cream ($11); Chocolate Layer Cake, chocolate mousse, fudge sauce, white chocolate ($12); Blossoming Apple Tart, Honeycrisp apples, almonds, cranberries, caramel, Saigon cinnamon ice cream ($13).

Sophisticated preparation and exciting presentation are the foundations of Chef Cottini’s food
The menu descriptions purposefully understated on paper, belie the sophisticated preparation and exciting presentations that guests will experience, creating a memorable dining experience.

For example, the Grilled Wedge Salad starts with iceberg lettuce raised locally by Urban Till in Chicago specifically for Knife. The smaller lettuce heads enhance the natural flavor, and are grilled to add a charred smokiness. The traditional toppings, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and blue cheese are scattered around the plate, but Chef Cottini has gone the extra mile, dehydrating the bacon for twelve hours to make it extra-crisp.

Other appetizers, such as the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad, are re-invented at Knife as well. The tomato is peeled, hollowed, and filled with a locally produced Burrata, infused with local basil-pesto and roasted. The Oxtail Doughnut Holes are savory bites filled with classically braised oxtail and served with an au poivre sauce. Bread offerings are baked in-house with Parker House Rolls served fresh from the oven and an artisan, potato-based Focaccia provides a dairy-free option.

Steaks are served uncut. “We wouldn’t dare deprive our customers of the joy of cutting into an exceptional, tender steak with ease. It’s an experience unlike any other,” says Chef Cottini. The special 28-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye for Two is carved tableside – such a  pleasure to watch the juices flow.

The Pork Chops have an intense marbling and flavor, served with a side of candied sweet potatoes seasoned with a spicy Saigon cinnamon, then topped with marshmallows and a butter bourbon gastrique. In a completely different category than any candied sweet potatoes many of our moms used to make.

Sourcing quality ingredients is a cornerstone of the Knife philosophy. The Wild Salmon is prepared with Skuna Bay Salmon, a top quality fish from a Vancouver Island, British Columbia vendor who exemplifies the sound ecological raising of farm-raised salmon. Sides are thoughtfully designed to enhance each flavor profile. The River Valley Ranch Mushroom en Pappiotte is a marinated portabella cap filled with shitake and cremini mushrooms, rosemary and roasted garlic. The Macaroni Gratin is jazzed up with a blend of cheddar and jarlsbergcheeses with lemon. The Stuffed Zucchini is sourced from local farmers, hollowed out and stuffed with a zucchini puree.

Knife bacon-wrapped potato
Knife bacon-wrapped potato

One example of Chef Cottini’s creativity is the Twice Baked Potato. This steakhouse standard side dish takes a contemporary turn as it stands up on its side, filled with an Italian fontina cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then roasted.

About Knife
Knife, located at 4343 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, is a new contemporary steakhouse from David and Paula Byers and Chef Tim Cottini, the team behind the popular Fork restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. Knife is inspired by traditional steakhouse food and beverages and gives them a modern interpretation, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Knife is open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed on Sunday and Monday. All major cards will be accepted; ample street parking is available. Knife also will be available for private events. For more information, please contact Knife at (773) 799-8283. Visit the website at knifechicago.net. Like Knife on Facebook at Facebook.com/KnifeChicago; follow on Twitter atTwitter.com/KnifeChicago and on Instagram at Instagram.com/KnifeChicago.

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Good luck foods for Cubs – order some!

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GO, CUBS!

According to Grubhub, the nation’s leading online meal delivery service, it’s time to order takeout/delivery food items that appear to be good luck food for the Cubs as they begin the National League Championship Series on Saturday. If the Cubs are to appear in the World Series for the first time since 1945 and ultimately clinch their first championship since 1908, you may want to order these foods on game day!

The following are the top 5 most ordered foods during game day wins in Chicago for the Cubs vs. game day losses.

  1. In Chicago, hamachi kama was ordered 145% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
  2. In Chicago, creamy mac and cheese was ordered 117% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
  3. In Chicago, black bean taco was ordered 111% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
  4. In Chicago, horiatiki salad was ordered 91% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
  5. In Chicago, shepherd salad was ordered 88% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
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Fried chicken and bubblies, oh my!

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English: Several pieces of fried chicken.
English: Several pieces of fried chicken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next Saturday October 22 from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, hundreds of Chicagoans will be on hand to enjoy the 2nd annual Fried Chicken & Champagne Fest. Proceeds from the event go towards financial assistance for hospitality and culinary arts students through the Kendall College Trust. A dozen award-winning Chicago chefs fry up their best recipes, and attendees munch those chicken renditions while sipping on a vast array of bubblies have been curated by Master Sommelier Serafin Alverado of headlining sponsor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. And let’s just say, with the likes of Chef Lee Wolen from Michelin-starred Boka Restaurant participating, you are bound to exerience way beyond ordinary.

With over 60 different offerings from around the world – including luxury labels like Moet Imperial Rose, Dom Perignon and Palmes D’Or – everyone can find a perfect pairing or two. For a full list of Champagne, click here.  Get more info and tickets here.
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Bring your appetite and relax at Nando’s Peri-Peri Wabash

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A restaurant with its own special vibe opened this summer at 22 S. Wabash on Jewelers Row near Madison Ave: the fourth Chicago location of Nando’s Peri-Peri. It’s a unique, partly self-serve but not fast-food place that specializes in delicious flame-grilled chicken with many different variations on the restaurant’s proprietary Peri-Peri sauce. The chicken is super juicy and the sauces come in shades of spiciness suited to almost any particular taste.

This place is a hidden treasure trove of delicious food served in a warm, cozy atmosphere – and it’s a great place to come when you’re hungry. You’ll notice from our pictures that we were obviously hungry; we couldn’t remember to take a picture of each course before we dove in and started eating!

Nando hummus - too good to wait
Nando hummus – too good to wait

The starter hummus benefited greatly when we poured the contents of the little bottle of Peri-Peri sauce served on the side for that purpose. Woke up the flavor of the spread and gave a nice spicy tang to the whole dish. It was served with crisp and uniquely cut vegetables – carrot discs, unusually shaped fingers of cucumber, thinly sliced strips of pepper, and little triangles of rich-doughed pita bread. Very tasty and nicely presented.

Nando peas 'n' chicken
Nando peas ‘n’ chicken

We both decided to go for the dark meat chicken quarter with two sides ($9.95 with two sides, $7.95 for just the chicken). Side choices included garlic bread – a delicious Portuguese roll nicely grilled in garlic butter – creamy smashed red potatoes, Machu peas – fresh crushed with mint and chili – and Portuguese rice. Pick your sides, then stroll over to the self-serve station and sample as many cups as you like of your choice(s) of Peri-Peri sauces, which come in a variety of hotnesses and include mild, garlic, wild herb, medium and hot. It’s a self-serve place for the most part, but helpful servers make the rounds on a regular basis. Our server that night was particularly willing to help – he got us napkins, extra drinks, and desserts, each with two spoons for sharing. We definitely felt taken care of.

The chicken was exquisitely grilled after having been marinated in their original Peri-Peri sauce, cooked to perfection, served up super juicy and just enough crisp in the skin to enhance the flavor beautifully. So tasty we found ourselves gnawing on the bones to mine the last of the juicy goodness. Our mashed potatoes and Machu peas and garlic bread were most satisfying. The Portuguese rice was quite mild until we kicked it up with some Peri-Peri sauce that brought it to life.

Nando makes its own Sangria
Nando makes its own Sangria

The choices of wines were impressive – two selections from South Africa, a couple from Portugal, and several others, as well as a sangria of the day and their regular featured red sangria, both refreshing and full of fresh fruit. My companion, who’s dined with sangria in Spain and Portugal many times, felt the big leaf of fresh basil in the mango sangria-of-the-day was an inspired touch.

The desserts were unexpectedly out of the ordinary. This visit we decided to pass on the custard tarts, a regular feature at Nando’s, so we could try some of the other options. From the super-moist carrot cake to the super-rich chocolate spoon cake, each served with a dollop of whipped cream, and the bottomless dish of frozen vanilla yogurt, we tucked in with vigor and didn’t quit until we had almost finished the three.

The place was rocking with Spanish/Portuguese music throughout the meal. It was just loud enough to liven the atmosphere without interfering with conversation. We thought they ought to pipe the music outside to let people know what a fun and delicious experience is on offer inside. The decor is fresh and original, using lots of natural wood with some unique decorating touches. Bathrooms are clean and cheerful, and benefit greatly from having the music piped in there as well.

Any time you are anywhere near State and Madison and you’re hungry, you will be very well satisfied if you make the trip over to South Wabash to meet the Peri-Peri staff and sample the menu. Friendliness and helpfulness were definitely the keys to the service kingdom at Nando’s Peri-Peri the night we were there. Sad to say, the restaurant is very hard to see from the street. No signage extends out onto or across the sidewalk. Perhaps they’ll remedy that soon, but in any case, this spot is well worth the search.

And don’t forget they have three other locations in Chicago: Clybourn, Lakeview and West Loop.

Nando’s supplied samples to facilitate this review; the opinions expressed are 100% those of the writer.

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Chicago Fire soccer team mans the grills at Nando’s

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This Saturday November 21 Nando’s PERi-PERi is christening its new 22 S. Wabash location by donating its first day two days of proceeds to the Chicago Fire Foundation, which works to enhance the lives of disadvantaged youth in and around Chicago. And five Chicago Fire soccer players will be doing the cooking. Nando’s PERi-PERi is a South African-Portuguese restaurant known around the world for its spicy flame-grilled chicken. The Wabash spot makes its fourth Chicago location.
Oh, yeah. Good chicken.
Oh, yeah. Good chicken.

The marinated-for-24-hours then flame-grilled chicken is the star of the menu – from wings to quarters to whole birds and with a variety of sauces available – but the different combination plates and sides make a wide enough variety to satisfy just about any craving. How about this creative salad combo: Butternut squash and couscous salad ($8.25), made of oven-roasted butternut and red onion with olives, grilled corn, chili and couscous, served with dressing on a bed of leaves. You can practically taste the flavors just thinking about it.

And how about the desserts? From raspberry brulee/white chocolate cheesecake ($6.25) to a chocolate/peanut butter/red velvet cupcake ($3.25) and the Four-High carrot cake ($6.25) consisting of four rich, golden cake layers with walnuts, pineapple, and raisins and topped off with cream cheese icing, they are not kidding around. Oh, and they give the calories right on the website for every item on the menu. In case you’re wondering, the carrot cake clocks in at 1136 this-is-probably-all-you-can-eat-for-the-day calories.

Chicago Fire players scheduled to appear at Nando’s include defender Eric Gehrig, midfielders Chris Ritter, Michael Stephens and Matthew Watson, and Fire great and club ambassador Gonzalo Segares. Get your special chicken served up by these guys when you stop by Nando’s on Wabash this Saturday and Sunday.

WHO: Nando’s and Chicago Fire Soccer Team
WHAT: New Nando’s opens in the Loop, with Fire players taking over the grills. All sales donated to charity this weekend
WHERE: Nando’s, 22 S. Wabash Avenue
WHEN: Restaurant opens 11am; Players on site Saturday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 11:30am to 1:30pm and 5:30pm to 7:30pm

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